Feb 28, 2010

PennSPOT New Director

Governor Spendall has appointed a new Director for PennSPOT Laundry and Highway Department. Satellite imaginary has revealed that snow drifts reported by PennSPOT to be 15 feet high on February 10th, were in fact 15 inches. PennSPOT defended itself with a climate report from Penn State, but Spendall said, "Who can believe them about anything?"

PeeWee will assume leadership of the Department on March 1, 2010. He is known as a innovator who makes do with what is in hand.

Feb 26, 2010

No Lassie Service

Al Bundy, serving as honorary Director of Lassie, suspended all bus service as of 8:00 p.m. Thursday.

Speaking at the temporary office of the Jr. High Sports Museum, to be named after him, Bundy said, "Let them walk." It's a long standing policy of Lassie to not allow bus tires to get wet.

Feb 24, 2010

Road and Bus Closing

PennSPOT Laundry and Highways and Lassie Bus Service announce all state roads and bus service will be suspended for five (5) days, starting immediately, to assure public inconvenience because of the approaching snow. Both organizations have chosen this site, molovinskyonallentown, for public announcements.

8th Street Bridge

When opened for traffic on November 17, 1913, with seventeen spans, the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge, then known as the Eighth Street Bridge, was the longest and highest reinforced concrete arch bridge in the world.
The Lehigh Valley Transit Company organized the Allentown Bridge Company in 1911 for the sole purpose of building the bridge. The bridge was designed by the engineering firm of B.H. Davis and built by McArthur Brothers of New York City. Costing in excess of $500,000, construction of the bridge required 29,500 cubic yards of concrete and 1.1 million pounds of metal reinforcing rods.
The structure operated as a toll bridge from its November 17, 1913 opening until the 1950s, at which time the toll was five cents for an automobile. The concrete standards that once supported the trolley wire are still standing on the bridge to this day.*

This iconic bridge is a monument to our industrial history; epicenter of both the cement and steel industries. Unfortunately, bridge is suffering. Weeds and undergrowth are being allowed to penetrate the roadbed. Spalling concrete is not being replaced, submitting the reinforcing rods to rust.

Harry C. Trexler, founding member of the Transit Company and Lehigh Portland Cement Co., was a principle player in the construction of this bridge. General Trexler's gravesite, in Fairview Cemetery on Lehigh Street, affords unique views of the bridge and center city Allentown.
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertus_L._Meyers_Bridge

reprinted from Aug. 6, 2008

Feb 23, 2010

The Star Of David

Although Jewish heavyweights in the 1930's occasionally wore the Star of David on their trunks, like Abe Simon, none was more famous than Max Baer, and he wasn't really Jewish. Baer's father was half Jewish, and he was raised as a Catholic. After moving to N.Y.C. to be trained by Jack Demsey, he adopted the Star to fight Max Schmeling, Hitler's boxer of choice. Defeating Schmeling in 1933, set Baer up for a Championship fight with Carnera. Baer, who had a reputation as a party animal, was never the less a notoriously hard hitter.

Shown in the ring with the giant Primo Carnera, Demsey stands behind them. Baer would annihilate Carnera and hold the title for one year until the famous fight with the Cinderella man, James Braddock.
Baer's son, Max Jr, would become famous as Jethro Bodine in The Beverly Hillbillies. There's more, Max(Sr.) had a brother, Buddy, who was 6'7".....

links are the fight films

Feb 22, 2010

Boxing 1930's, Primo Carnera

When Abe Simon fought Joe Louis in 1942, Abe was the biggest heavyweight* fighting. That wasn't the case when Abe began his career in 1935. Primo Carnera was an Italian strongman on the European circus circuit. He fought his first fight in Paris in 1928. It is pretty well known that he was brought to N.Y.C. by mobsters who arranged and managed his fights. The 6'6" giant upset Jack Sharkey in 1933, and held the title for a year until Max Baer had a go at him.

In 1935 Carnera fought the up and coming Joe Louis, who pulverized him into a bloody mess. Primo would return to Europe. Shown in the ring with him in 1933 is Jean Harlow, promoting her movie classic Bombshell.

* 6'7" Buddy Baer, brother of Max, had retired after a beating from Louis earlier in 1942

Feb 21, 2010

The Compromised

The highly respected Guide to Creating Sustainable Parks recommends minimizing impermeable surfaces like paved trails, and considering replacing asphalt and concrete with permeable gravel. Here in Allentown, as a component of the Trail Network Plan, we are doing the opposite, replacing gravel with asphalt to accommodate cyclists. The final report on the Trail Plan, the Executive Summary, shows asphalt or concrete(page 13) right next to the stream buffers. This fall, plantings for the Riparian Buffer were actually paved over in Cedar Creek Park. Although the Steering Committee for the Trail Network Plan is dominated by government types, there are environmentalists included who do know better, yet have remained silent; Michael Adams, Environmental Advisory Council. Tom Gettings and Chris Kocher from the Wildlands Conservancy and most puzzling, Mark Palerino, from the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Mark does work in their recreation division. There are others in this City who also should be included on the Compromiser List, however, I restricted inclusion to members of Steering Committee.

I had no problems sharing the park paths with bicyclists. My objection to the Trail Network Plan is that it will encourage more and faster cycling as the dominant group on the paths, to the detriment of the other users.

Feb 20, 2010

Lanta Chronicles


Allentown's latest Dancing in the Street, Octoberfeast, will have multi-cultural attractions. There will be genuine rickshaw rides, pulled by former Asian merchants who were forced out of business by the City Department of Gentrification. After this weeks party for the Brewpub, the rickshaws will operate on a regular basis between Hamilton Street and our new Lanta Transportation Center.
Reprinted from Oct. 7, 2007


Hannibal Lecter has been offered parole on the condition he restrict his diet to Hamilton Street bus riders. Once a month he will be permitted an Asian merchant; on thanksgiving he may have a preselected blogger. Mr. Lector will be micro-chipped and given a new Hamilton Street loft apartment. He will be monitored by the new surveillance cameras. Mayor Pawlowski and Armand Greco will provide more details at a press conference early next week at the new Lanta Terminal.
Reprinted from Oct. 20, 2007


This image heralds back to once upon a time, when traffic, buses and shoppers on Hamilton Street were desired, much less called congestion. Although Lanta's circulator bus has only attracted 12 riders a day, their new concessions, which do not start until Feb.11, only add stops on 7th and 8th streets to the northwest and south sides. No concessions will be made for the Hanover Ave. and east side passengers. Lanta has clearly put the justification of their new transfer station over the survival of our merchants. I ask you to join me, merchants and bus riders on Tuesday Dec. 11, at 12 noon at the Lanta Headquarters, 1060 Lehigh Street, to let them know their still doing too little, too late.
The image is part of a watercolor by Karoline Schaub-Peeler
Reprinted from Dec. 6, 2007


Can anyone explain why the Allentown Parking Authority should be a landlord? It is apparently not to make money, because the rent is far below the cost to construct the square footage. It is not to serve a local neighborhood need or the need of the bus riders, few of them purchase private vineyard wine or natural fiber designer clothes. Here's the answer; because Linda Kauffman, former director of the Allentown Parking Authority, thought it was a good idea. She also wanted stores in the new deck at 4th and Hamilton, but City Council decided not to compete with local investors. So now we have a parking deck which is mostly empty, a Lanta Transfer Station which is putting the Hamilton Street merchants out of business, and a new subsidized yuppie who will fail anyway because she is in the wrong location for her product. Ms. Kauffman retired and moved to the Maryland beach.
Reprinted from Dec. 11, 2007
The Parking Authority never did find a tenant, and now is relocating it's office there from 10th and Hamilton, which will become a Police substation- Feb. 20, 2010
As Hannibal would say, this is only a taste of posts concerning Lanta and the Hamilton Street merchants. The full menu may be found in the blog archives between Oct. 2007 and Feb. 2008

Feb 19, 2010

Back Of The Bus

Buses have long been a vehicle of discrimination. In the mid 1950's, Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus with the other African Americans. In recent decades the discrimination has evolved from racial to one of class.

Several years ago Allentown decided it wanted to improve it's human streetscape on Hamilton Street. The scheme had two elements; remove the benches and remove the bus people, who for the most part are low income. This gentrification plan was not articulated, nor printed in a brochure, but discussed among officials and urban planners. Resistance was minimal. The merchants, mostly Asian, are not inclined toward outward demonstration.* The Allentown Parking Authority induced Lanta to locate a transfer terminal at the new parking deck at 6th and Linden, and the transfer stops were removed from Hamilton Street. Only after business dropped 40% on Hamilton Street, would the merchants consider speaking out.* After pleading their case, Lanta Board member Steve Schmitt told the merchants that they are just looking for a reason to complain and would have to prove the business decline, by showing their accounting books; as if the empty street was not proof enough.

Lanta is now repeating the process in Easton. The social-economic segregation is more transparent.
On the other hand, some other nearby businesses say they'd be happy to see the bus riders move along. At the Terra Cafe, a coffee shop between Family Dollar and American Dollar, owner Marcel Bedoya said he and some nearby higher-end shops don't get a lot of bus-riding customers -- and in fact the lower-income bus riders tend to scare off some of his clientele.
Bedoya said he feels for the dollar stores, but moving the transfers ''definitely will benefit us, because we will not have that type of crowd hanging around in front of our stores.''

Allentown's hope of shopping gentrification never materialized. The people of the bus never were replaced by people of the wallet. About eight businesses folded on Hamilton Street, and the remainder hang on with reduced revenues. Allentown has a new plan for economic revitalization;
The idea to improve the city's park system by connecting them through bike and pedestrian trails is extremely important. Perhaps it's the most important thing the city can do to foster economic development, improve the health of residents and attract tourists and businesses,'' Schmitt said.
Yes, it's the same Schmitt, but this time proof isn't required. Apparently it's better to get rid of those bus riders who did shop between buses, and count on bicyclists to improve our economy. I didn't even know those spandex outfits have pockets.

* I organized** several meetings on behalf of the merchants, including two at the Lanta Board
** Jenny Lim, from the House of Chen, and Bernie O'Hare were my partners in organizing the merchants
Use search engine at top of page to learn more about Lanta's abuse of the Hamilton Street merchants; Lanta and Merchants

Feb 18, 2010

Odds And Ends

My father operated two meat markets. One was on Union Street in Allentown, before the Hamilton Street Bridge; the other in Easton, on S. 4th Street. You could save a little money by buying the cold cut ends; although not full slices, they tasted the same. Here's a few ends.

Last night Allentown City Council approved the resolution forwarding the Trail Network Plan. The consultants and Administration have been claiming that this plan may take decades to implement, but lets at least keep the concept moving forward. Any Council Member with doubts,but voted yes, may want to consider another possibility. Philadelphia and South Jersey just received $23 million in Federal Stimulus Funds for bike paths.
Comments made to article
$23,000,000 for a bike path is outrageous. $10.6 million for a 2,000 foot stretch? That is $5,300/foot. That is a complete waste of money.

BTW, $23,000,000 could have kept a lot of libraries, pools, and firehouses going. But at least we get a bike path that will be used by, what, .01% of the population?

Easton and Lanta are going to duplicate the mistake made in Allentown, with a Transfer Terminal.
from the article;
On the other hand, some other nearby businesses say they'd be happy to see the bus riders move along. At the Terra Cafe, a coffee shop between Family Dollar and American Dollar, owner Marcel Bedoya said he and some nearby higher-end shops don't get a lot of bus-riding customers -- and in fact the lower-income bus riders tend to scare off some of his clientele.
Bedoya said he feels for the dollar stores, but moving the transfers ''definitely will benefit us, because we will not have that type of crowd hanging around in front of our stores.''

In Allentown there was the same desire by the Administration to upgrade the street scene by relocating the "bus people". Allentown has learned that although the merchants lost their customer base, the "upscale people" never materialized.

''To have LANTA turn around and propose the same thing in Easton seems incredibly callous to me,'' Molovinsky said. ''I can't see how it won't have the same effect.''

Panto responded by pointing out a key difference in Easton: Though the bus transfers will move, ''we're still going to have bus stops on Northampton Street,'' he said. ''We are not doing what Allentown did.''

In previous blog dialogues I have clearly explained the difference to Mayor Panto. Bus riders will shop while they have to wait between buses anyway, but they will not make an extra stop to shop, then have to catch the bus again to only then transfer at the terminal. Panto also knows that buses still travel Hamilton Street, but to no avail for the merchants. He is being disingenuous.

I fully support the proposal by Schlossberg and Pawlowski to ban cell phone use.

Feb 17, 2010

Allentown History Highjacked

"Last year, a consultant recommended in a study of Trexler Park that cyclists be banned.
Efforts to confine walkers and bicyclists to separate lanes have not been effective, and the cyclists are dangerous to pedestrians, the study, by Andropogon Associates Ltd. of Philadelphia, concluded. "

Allentown's history and our Traditional Park System is being highjacked by carpetbaggers. The Trail Network Plan, to be embraced this evening by City Council, is clearly designed for the Bike Cyclist Coalition, most of whom live out of town. The Executive Summary*, released yesterday, irrefutably shows that this plan is for the cyclists at the expense of everyone else. New park rules will include: Walk no more than two abreast. Keep dogs on a short lead. Beware of surprise actions by dogs and children.

Actually, Allentonians should be aware of surprise actions by this Administration that are changing the nature of our parks; from serene settings of nature to a venue for extended high speed bike use. Park Director Weitzel thinks we need his help to enjoy our parks and city. ''We have to change the culture of the city and make it more pedestrian-friendly, but it's going to take time to reverse that East Coast mentality,'' said Weitzel, who returned recently from a conference in Seattle, where he says pedestrians, not cars, rule the city.**

my reply to the 1st comment
I don't blame the bicyclists for this plan, if allentown is willing to convert the parks into a disneyland for them, why wouldn't they be excited. I blame pawlowski, weitzel, and the trexler trust. they think they have to take every suggestion from an outside consultant in 2005, and implement them immediately. how ironic that we are using outside consultants for one of the most iconic park systems in america. How pathetic that the trexler trust would pay to inflict these scars on our parks. How weak of city council to not intercede.

Illustrating the contempt for our traditions, is that the cheerleaders are spreading an urban myth that General Trexler wanted the parks connected. The Park System was not created till 1928. The General was killed in 1933. At this point, not even the WPA features highlighting our park system were built. Trexler Park was not given to the City until after the death of his widow.
my reply to the 19th comment
the whole plan is simply an insult to the everyone else but the bicyclists

Allentown has serious quality of life issues. Nonsense about people wanting to bicycle downtown to see a play, or that this plan will we an economic boom to the city, doesn't bode well for finding real solutions.

* directions to Executive Summary: go to City Web Site, then Parks and Recreation, find Executive Summary link

**The Morning Call

ADDENDUM: The Bike Lobby has been busy placing comments on yesterday's Morning Call article about the plan and meeting this evening. They have been also contacting Council members. From the last comment submitted (article comments appear in reverse order, last is first) " Plus, it will reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and draw the young people who like these types of amenities to Allentown. A win, win, win situation, if you ask me." Reduce traffic congestion? Improve air quality?

"Last year, a consultant recommended in a study of Trexler Park that cyclists be banned.
Efforts to confine walkers and bicyclists to separate lanes have not been effective, and the cyclists are dangerous to pedestrians, the study, by Andropogon Associates Ltd. of Philadelphia, concluded. "

Feb 16, 2010

Public Meetings

There are two upcoming public meetings. Wednesday evening, Allentown City Council will approve the Bike Path Plan which will enable the cyclists to whiz through, and between the parks. Pedestrians will have to wear helmets to protect themselves.
The second meeting is in Easton Thursday evening. Lanta will tolerate legally required public input about their plan to destroy business on Northampton Street, by building a Transfer Terminal three blocks away. This Terminal will share space with the Al Bundy High School Sports Museum. I have included no details of when and where the meetings are, because they don't really care what you think anyway.

Feb 14, 2010

The Fairfax Diary

In around 1968 I purchased a old piece of furniture in Fairfax, Virginia. Tucked in back of a drawer was a daily memorandum calendar from 1920, written by an unidentified young man. At the time, I thought it would be interesting to track down the man who would be 70 or so years old then, and return his memories. I never did, and now another 40 years have passed. It's too late to find him, and I suppose the information is now too old to ring any bells. What grandchild, or great grandchild, would recognize that there was an Helen, Mary and Whit in their family, which lived in the Virginia area in the 1920's? Never the less, in this age of Google searches, I will type in the days of this man's life in 1920. The booklet, which I hadn't touched for many years, is literally disintegrating as I flip the days.

This is a year in the life of a 20 year old man in 1920. Although I don't know his name, we learn things about him. During the year he worked at two different insurance companies in Washington D.C. He loses the first job the day after his 21st. birthday, which is on Labor Day. He commuted during the summer from the family vocation house in Garrett Park, Maryland. He and his father were excited that Harding was elected President.

I have added question marks where I have difficulty with the handwriting. There are a number of heartfelt notations which I will highlight in bold type. I will present January in its entirety to give the feel, then only the more interesting days for the remainder of the year.

Jan.1,Aunt Helen, Mary and uncle Whit came up to dinner, 2, Received $1.50 com. on fire insurance. 3, Worked half day being Saturday. 4,Went to church came home and stayed in house in afternoon because it is very cold. 5,Collected $1.55 today Went back to school ?for 1st time in two week 6 worked pretty hard today 7Went to school tonight 8,went around to Moreland(?) to night 9, Went to school tonight. O.W &R Kowens(?) agree to give me 1/2% on every cust(?) I get for them to sell the house (?) them. 10,Went around to office tonight 11. Went to church and in the afternoon went to Garrett Park(?) 12. Went to school13.Virginna's(?) finger is not doing so well today. Dr. Davidson is going to bring Dr. White tomorrow. 14.Dr. White did not come today. did not go to school tonight.15. Virginnias finger is pretty bad off 16. Went to school tonight 17.fixed up back porch today Virginna's finger is better18. Stayed home in morning but went down to see uncle whit this afternoon19went to school tonight20. Went to see the Moreland tonight21. stayed home from school22.very bad day snowing and sleeting all day23did not go to school tonight24read this afternoon. Mr. G. Fred Thompson funeral was today at 2p.m. from his home 57 21(?) St. N.W. He was a man of few words but was kind to everyone. He was our neighbor in the summer time at Garrett Park.25. Papa is home sick with a cold. I went to church today. Doctor(?) is still coming to see Virginia.26.stayed at home27.Went to see the Moreland28. Went to school tonight29Worked pretty hard today30Went to school tonight31went around to office
February 7, Went around to office tonight. H.R. Howenstein is going to give $70 per month and pay twice month.12, Today is Lincoln's birthday. The man who loved and help weeked(?) and who keeped the U.S. from being divided.18 Papa has been in the Pension office 57 years today20admiral Perry the one who discovered the north (?) died today 21 Maj.Pulman head of police in D.C. is very sick might die 22 Today is the birthday of that great man who loved his fellow man and his country more then himself. George Washington will live in the love and mine(?)forever 23. Maj. R.W. Pulman chief of police died at his home 55 Ivy St. S.E. at 8:05 P.M. Feb.22 He was a square(?) man in every way. went to moreland 29 went to church went to see uncle Whit
March4, Virginia thumb is not so well today Dr. Davison is going to bring Dr. Whit here tomorrow 5, Virginia thumb is better It is snow and blowing very hard 7, Virginia is going up to have exra(?) taken of her finger tomorrow.13, snowed hard today15, every thing gone wrong17, did not go to school. everybody that lives in this world is more or less a fool 21, Mr. Kadn(?) the preacher at Kinsington(?)church is go to leave after next sunday so I went out to hear him and then after service went to garrett park 28, Papa and I went to hear Mr. Kady(?) preach his last sermon at Kingsinton(?)
April 1, walked all day motor broken down 3, went out to garrett park with mama(?) 4, went to church. 25 people gonen(?) 6, going to hospital to have eye fixt(?) No entries from April 7 through 21 22, came home from hospital today 23, went to moreland tonight 26, went up to N.E. office, main office hospital and Emmerson institute 27, collected to rents(?) today 28,Mama is sick tonight Dr. Davidson came to see her
May 1, went to office at night 3, going back to work tomorrow 5, went back to work today, made 40 call 7, went up to see David Clark(?) tonight he brought me home 11, went to Dr. Wilman(?) at 5P.M. 22, went out in country 28, took a long ride this evening on my motorcycle
June 4, Motor broke down 6, went out to garrett park on 9:25 and took long walk about 8 mile and came back on troly(?) 19, went out to G.P. and painted back porch. 23, We moved out to garrett park Md. cost $10
July 3, My vocation starts today at 1:P.M. and back until July 13 , July 4th. (There is a drawing of a flag) 5, had fire work about 3:30 I went over to Kensington to see the army tank and other things 6, This day is the start of my leave. sent motorcycle in by express to have repaired 10, Went to town to get motor cost $10 to repair 11, stayed on front porch and read most of day 13, went to eye Dr. 14,worked 17, road to work on motor 18, Uncle Whit came out to see us 26, Smith motor broke down
August 3, road into Wash and am back 5, road Smith lost top to gas tank cost 1.25 for new one 9, Papa was notified that he would be drop(?) from office on the 20 19, worked 20,Papa's retirement from office starts today 22, went to church at chevy chase start vocation 23, Went to town on business saw one dubasir(?) about making(?) office move 25, repair on wagon, repair on walking beam
Sept. 4, took a ride Papa Mama Virginia in auto up to gatherburg 5, Mr. Dubore came out to see me on 1:37 train and went back on 6:19 6, This is labor day and my birthday I am 21 years of age now 7, Ralph and Owen Howenstein told me that they did not want me after the 15 day of Sept. 1920 8. Owen and Ralph Howenstein or not worth working for (there is another sentence crossed out) 14, tomorrow is my last day with Mr. Howenstein 15, left howenstein today 652 H N.E. 17, am going to take it Mr. Terry got it for me his office. I will be insurance reppre(?) 18, I stayed at home all day will start on new job Sept. 20 19, stayed at home took papa over to church mama went to see Dr. Jones for cold 20 started to work for Barr and Phelps in insurance department 23, made 15 calls 29, we are going to move back to city tomorrow but papa and i are going to stay a few day longer

October 3, going back to city tomorrow 17, Mama Papa Virginia and I went to garrett park on 9:25 train and came back on 6:19 22, painted front and back porch at garrett park 23 Papa and I went doror(?) so far for Harding 30 (Saturday) started to work for Singer sewing machine co. branch off 1630 14 N.W. Mr. Smith work on com
November 1, made 4.10 in fire insurance com 2, Papa and I went down to see come returns come in Harding is the next Pre 3, Harding is the next President Harding got 372 and Cox democrat 137 (written much neater than any other entry so far)
December 17, have not had time to write any been so busy working 23, took off today to shop 25, we had aunt Helen and Mary and Uncle Whit up to dinner. We are not rich but we are happy. God alone knows what is in store for us in the next year. we should take our happy days as may come

Feb 13, 2010

A Day In The Park

There was a time when we didn't feel the need for outside consultants telling us what to do in our parks. There was a time when we didn't buy new fads from catalogs, but maintained the icons built by the WPA. There was a time when people cherished our parks for their beauty.

photocredit: molovinsky

Feb 12, 2010

PennDOT Slow Learner

Do a Google Search for Rendell and Distributions Centers, and you find pages of press releases. Distribution has replaced industry in Pennsylvania. Although these massive centers don't employ that many people, a few jobs are better than none. Bringing these centers to western Lehigh County hasn't been cheap. Between the grants, cardboard checks and tax incentives, it takes years before they pay off. To bring the water bottling companies here, we have to suck the Little Lehigh Creek dry. Seems like PennDOT keeps forgetting that the section of Route 78, between Hamburg and Fogelsville, needs special attention. This same area got away from them in 2007, 2009 and again on Wednesday. After closing the entire InterState, it took PennDOT over 24 hours, till yesterday afternoon, to reopen the road. Pennsylvania supposedly closed the roads for safety sake, but now will allow the truckers to drive 14 straight hours to catch up on distribution. The picture shows the pass over Jugtown Mountain on New Jersey's section of Route 78, keep open during the storm.

ADDENDUM: PennDot reported last year that 42 trucks were assigned to that section of the road during the 09 storm. Later they disclosed actually only 10 trucks were used. Yesterday they claimed the snow drifts were 10 feet deep on the road.

Feb 11, 2010

PennSPOT Laundry

PennSPOT Laundry and minor snow removal will reopen today. Yesterday, I offended some readers by suggesting that Lanta could have done better. While Lanta never got out of the gate, Septa in Philadelphia provided bus service on all routes till 1:00pm, and on major ones till 5:00pm. Rendell, fearing a PennDOT repeat of Valentine Day 2007, closed down our InterState highway system. Our neighboring states, experiencing the same storm, keep their highways open. According to a PennDOT driver in 2009, the crews are up to the challenge, it's the bureaucracy that isn't. I realize the criticizing is easy from behind the comfort of my desk, but should not Lanta and PennDot be trying harder? PennDOT, especially, should be measured on how they do in the most difficult of times.

UPDATE: as of 6:00am. today (Thur. Feb. 11) Route 78 is still closed. PennDOT and Rendell fail in 2007,2009 and now again.
UPDATE: as of 11:00am. Route 78 still closed

Feb 10, 2010

Useless Lanta

Lanta Real Estate and Terminal Builders is closed for the day. At one point their mission was to provide transportation. At that time they took people to their jobs, and facilitated commerce in our center cities. Today they built terminals away from the main shopping streets, harvest grants and dabble in alternative transportation. Although the poor with no cars will not be able to get to work today, they may take consolation in Lanta's plans for hybrid fuel buses.

LANTA/Metro WILL NOT operate Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2010, due to weather conditions. No Bus Service. All offices are closed.

Lunch At Allen

Up to the mid 60's, students at Allen High could leave the building for lunch. Scattered in alley's around the the school, garages had been converted into lunch shops and hangouts. The Hutch was in the alley between 17th and West Streets, in the unit block between Hamilton and Linden. Suzy's was behind the Nurse's Dormitory, between Chew and Turner. Another was across Linden from the Annex. They all had the same basic decor, a few pinball machines, a few tables and a small lunch counter. Most of the business was during lunch period, and before and after school. It's my understanding that occasionally a kid or two would skip school and hangout all day. Today these garages, turned into luncheonettes, have long ago reverted back to garages. Most of the current residents of West Park probably don't even know about this commercial history right behind their houses. I missed photo day at Allen for my yearbook, but if anybody has a picture of the gang from the Hutch, I'd appreciate a copy.

Reprinted from Sept. 24, 2008

Feb 9, 2010

The Last Fight

When Abe Simon stepped into the ring at Madison Square Garden on March 27, 1942, it would be his last fight. He had been recently married, and promised his wife that he would stop fighting. One year earlier he had fought Joe Louis the first time, and endured a tremendous beating for thirteen rounds. Fighting since 1935, ranked 6th by Ring Magazine, a shot at the title was something a fighter cannot pass up. Many fight historians consider Louis the hardest hitting heavyweight of all time. Because of the publicity Simon gained from these Louis fights, he was offered a lucrative cross country boxing tour, which he declined. It was also Louis's last title defense for four years, until fighting Billy Conn in June of 1946. After the Simon fight he joined the U.S. Army, where he would fight 96 exhibition bouts at bases throughout the country. Shown above, Simon got knocked out in the sixth round.

Feb 6, 2010

Pre-Fight Hype

In the early 40's, during the War, boxing was a big sport. Pre-Television, fans would rather around the radio, and hear blow by blow commentary. Visuals were mostly restricted to newspaper photographs the following day. Not unlike the hype for the SuperBowl, the papers would also run photos prior to a big fight. Shown here are photos of contender Abe Simon, who was challenging Joe Louis for the Heavyweight Championship on March 27, 1942, at Madison Square Garden. These AP syndicated photos appeared in newspapers across the country on March 6th. Above, shows Abe and his wife in their kitchen. Below, he squares off with a neighborhood boy.

Simon's Record

Feb 5, 2010

Junior Achievement

Last month I wrote how the government was giving $millions of dollars to the poverty organizations to make mini-insulation contractors. I don't think much of this approach; I always thought we should give people fishing poles, not buy them a fish market. Here in the valley we have actually purchased new vans for these instant "contractors".

Enter an article in today's paper. There is a total of $360,000 available for manufacturers in a five county region. If they employ less than 500 people, they can loan up to $30,000. WOW, that should really get the manufacturing sector moving. That's not even enough to buy one of the caulkers a van.

Feb 4, 2010

The Charade Of Public Input

I've never been known as a diplomat. Bernie O'Hare says I kick them when their down (Tony Phillips), I kick them on their way out of town (Joyce Marin) and today when their not around (David Jones). One of things I have the least tolerance for is public input meetings; As if these wheeling, dealing bureaucrats care about what you think, you are merely the peanut gallery. Pennsylvania is going to hold a public input meeting on closing the Allentown State Hospital, after they have already made the decision. Perhaps that's more honest than implying that the public opinion matters. This post is actually about Johnny Callahan, who spoke yesterday at the public input meeting about whether to grant the Sands Casino an extension on their gambling license. Johnny took advantage of the situation to project his leadership skills; So we had a Congressional Candidate getting some face time at a meaningless meeting, as if the license renewal is in question. Johnny's babble was that the Sands Casino should provide a timetable for completing the Hotel. Johnny should be careful for what he wishes. If and when that hotel is completed, it will be at the expense of Hotel Bethlehem's occupancy rate. Oh well, that will be another press conference for another time. Perhaps they will allow public input.

Feb 3, 2010

Tasteless Trexler Trust

As I stood in Cedar Creek Park yesterday watching the carnage, it occurred to me that it really isn't Greg Weitzel's fault. He was hired as Park Director, with a background in recreation. He was handed an elaborate manual, designed by a Philadelphia firm, which outlined many possible renovations for a park system. It is not his fault that the Trexler Trust agreed to finance every item this young man picked from the catalog, and in one year no less.

I can't even blame Pawlowski. He is a professional advocate for low income housing, who was sweep into the mayorship by his predecessor's incompetence. May I add that he is very accomplished in the low income housing field. Between the brand new Hanover Acres, and many other projects, we may well lead the nation in newest low income housing available. I see a job at HUD in that man's future.

The hard packed cinder trail, which served a generation of runners, walkers, and lovers is being bulldozed away to make a full width, macadam road for two way high speed bike use. The charm and nature is gone. The roadbed is now completed from the Rose Garden to 30th Street, just awaiting the blacktop. Within three weeks(weather permitting) the entire road in the park should be completed. We should give this new street a name.

Feb 2, 2010